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I-T Raids on Actor Sarath Kumar, TN Health Min; Setback for Sasikala Camp

In a major embarrassment for the nascent Palaniswami government in Tamil Nadu, the Income Tax department has raided multiple properties of health minister C Vijayabaskar, including his residence.

Ashish Mehrishi, Poornima Murali

Updated:April 7, 2017, 3:47 PM IST
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Chennai:In a major embarrassment for the nascent Palaniswami government in Tamil Nadu, the Income Tax department has raided multiple properties of health minister C Vijayabaskar, including his residence. The searches come days before the crucial bypoll to the R K Nagar constituency, which was held by the late Jayalalithaa.

The department is also conducting searches at the Neelankarai residence of actor-turned-politician Sarath Kumar who had voiced his support for TTV Dhinakaran, the nephew of jailed AIADMK leader Sasikala.

Sources in the I-T department said in all 32 locations in the state, including 21 in Chennai, were raided.

Sources added that the raids began around 6am when close to 100 officials landed up at the minister’s house.

Vijayabaskar is seen as a loyalist of Sasikala, the AIADMK leader currently lodged in a Bangalore jail in a disproportionate assets case.

"The searches were being carried out in multiple locations, including Chennai and Pudukottai, following a tip-off about alleged tax evasion," a source told PTI.

Officials said there were certain "inputs" that black money is allegedly being pumped in for the by-election to RK Nagar Assembly bypoll.

There were also several complaints of alleged money distribution by AIADMK's Amma faction.

The bypoll is scheduled for April 12. The seat fell vacant after the death of the then chief minister J Jayalalithaa and it is being viewed as a battle of prestige for the two factions of the AIADMK.

Vijayabaskar, who is the first state minister to come under the lens of tax men, is among the key campaigners in the bypoll.

Officials said certain leads in the Sekhar Reddy case, the mining baron arrested for alleged financial irregularities post demonetisation, have also prompted the latest action.

(With PTI inputs)

| Edited by: Ananya Chakraborty
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